On November 1, 2012 we reported that “A strategic enforcement plan (“SEP”) has been drafted by the EEOC which currently has three guiding principles: (1) targeted enforcement; (2) an integrated approach to public sector and private sector enforcement; and (3) accountability.”
We described what two EEOC officials told a PLI audience as to what areas the EEOC intended to target in its future litigation. Given the EEOC’s four-year enforcement plan to attack “systemic employment discrimination,” the EEOC said that it would file more suits relating to: vulnerable workers (i.e., immigrants and migrants); emerging legal issues under the ADA Amendments Act and ADA accommodations, discrimination against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) community; accommodation for pregnant workers; sexual harassment; Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) cases; and the use of criminal records in hiring.
Anyone who has read our blog since then knows that the EEOC has, indeed, brought lawsuits in each of these areas.
Now that the EEOC has just closed the books on fiscal year 2013, it appears that, in actuality, of the lawsuits filed in the last year by the EEOC, two areas stand out: more than a third of the EEOC’s filed lawsuits related to the ADA, and a third came from sex and pregnancy discrimination claims. Religious discrimination cases were also noteworthy.
Got that employers? The vast majority of recent EEOC lawsuits have dealt with ADA ,and sex and pregnancy discrimination claims.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
On March 13, 2013 we cautioned that:
“The EEOC is serious about pursuing discrimination cases filed under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) – very serious – especially if you fire a pregnant employee because of outdated myths or stereotypes or couched in the language of safety and health That is, you cannot claim that disparate treatment of pregnant employees is justified by concern for the unborn child. We have repeatedly issued this warning, and have cited new case filings or settlements to support our concerns.
Take this seriously … because the EEOC has made obtaining not just monetary damages but also “targeted, equitable relief” – such as all sorts of injunctions — one of its top priorities … This means that you could be scrutinized closely by the EEOC and/or the Court for years.”